Research Questions And Objectives Education Essay

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The current chapter is concerned with outlining the different methodological aspects of this research paper a definition of the linguistics situation of Morocco, population, the sample, and the surveyed institution is given first. Second, the research instruments used in data collection are described. The final part of this chapter is devoted to the description of the data collection and analysis procedures.

Research questions and objectives

The aim of this study is fourfold. First, it is an attempt at finding out the extent to which the English taught in the surveyed institution is relevant to students' needs. Second, and more particularly, the main objective of the present study is to investigate the academic needs of the EFL undergraduate learners in Moulay Ismail University within the English department. Similarly; the study aims at exploring Teacher's perceived needs to examine the extent to which Students' needs are the same or they are in conflict.

To explore this subject, the following four questions have been put forward:

What are the academic needs as perceived by the undergraduates at the English department, Moulay Ismail University?

What are the academic needs as perceived by the teachers at the English department, Moulay Ismail University?

What are the academic needs outlined by the course description and the institution?

Are the needs outlined by the institution in agreement or in clash with the needs perceived by the teachers and the students?

The linguistics situation of Morocco

There are six main languages that govern the linguistic space in Morocco. Some are in direct contention for the same space; others govern a different space or are attempting to make their own space. The six languages are Classical Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, Berber, French, Spanish and English. The complex interaction among these languages is driven by religion, ethnicity, and issues of identity, education, and development.

Classical Arabic is a written language used mainly in formal education, media, administration, and religion. It is the official language, dominant in written literary forms, though there are also newspapers, media broadcast, and literary words in Moroccan Arabic. Classical Arabic cannot be claimed to be anyone's native language on par with, say, Moroccan Arabic. It is learnt only through formal instruction.

Moroccan Arabic also called "darija" is the native language for the majority of the population. It is the language of popular culture but, as just indicated, there are also works of literature and the arts (TV and cinema) and newspapers produced in this medium. Like other colloquial dialects of Arabic, Moroccan Arabic shares many properties with Classical Arabic that point to a common background; but there are also significant differences between the languages at the lexical, phonological, morphological, and syntactic levels.

Berber is the language of the original people of Morocco. It is the native language of about 40% of the population (estimates vary). It is not recognized as an official language, but it is nonetheless a language of a vibrant culture.

French is not an official language, but it is dominant in higher education, particularly in the sciences, in some sectors of the media, and in some industries, such as banking. There are also cultural activities in French (usually referred to as Francophone literature).

Spanish has been used in Morocco since the fall of Granada2 in 1492 and the coming of the Moors and Jews to the Moroccan territory after being chased from Spain. Spanish started to be used by the new people who settled there and became even more used by the end of the nineteenth century which marked the invasion of Spain to Morocco, especially in the northern and southern parts. Spanish is not used to teach in schools like French, but it has the status of a foreign language. Moroccan students can choose to learn Spanish as a third language in high school, in the regions formerly occupied by Spain.

English: The international status of English is inevitably imposing itself on the Moroccan speech community. As a result, English is the third language and it is taught starting from grade 9 in public schools. It is also taught parallel with French in other private institutions.

The sections above show that Morocco is a multilingual country where several languages co-exist, and are spoken by the population in most places. The purpose of this section is to show that the beginning of a language change is variation.

1.4 Overall Design of the Study

The purpose of this study was to reveal the importance attached to the four main skills (speaking, listening, reading, writing) by students, English instructors and curriculum coordinators with respect to target needs and learning needs. The relationship between students' attitude toward English language (interest, motivation and importance) and their perceived learning and target needs were revealed.

Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected through the questionnaires for students, ESP instructors and curriculum coordinators. Students were administered an attitude scale and a needs assessment questionnaire. English instructors were administered a needs assessment questionnaire and a course description is ….

The design was based on three data sources who were the students, the ESP instructors and curriculum coordinators. Their perceptions regarding the ESP target needs and learning needs of Tour Guidance students formed the backbone of the study.

Context Analysis

Data Collection



Students (n=40)

Students needs analysis Questionnaire

English instructors (n= 4)

English instructor Questionnaire

The institution

The course description

Analysis of the Data


Figure1 Overall Design of the Case Study


Three groups were involved in this study. As this study deals with students' perceptions regarding their own English language academic needs and the perceptions of students' needs from English instructors' and curriculum coordinators' point of view, triangulation was achieved with respect to data collection sources.

1.4.1 Students

The first group consisted of fourty-five students studying in Moulay Ismail University at the English Department. Twelve out of 45 students were freshmen and 33 out of 45 students were second and third year students. Total number of the students studying at this department as is so high, there was a need for selection of participants who would be administered questionnaires. So, 12 students were freshman, 12 second year students, 11 third year students( linguistic section) and 10 third year students ( literature section).

Thirty of the students were females and 15 of them were males. Their ages ranged from 18 to 26. All the students were administered the same questionnaire. They were given the questionnaire in the second term in 2011-2012 Academic year. By then they were already familiar with the courses they were taking.

1.4.2 English instructors

The second group consisted of 4 English instructors who were teaching English for Moulay Ismail University for at least one year. The least experienced one in terms of teaching English had an experience of more than 10 years. All of those instructors were teaching English related to various subject areas. However, as a result of their valuable experience, they were administered the questionnaire as well.

1.4.3 The institution and the course description

The third group consisted of the institution and the course description students are studying. The course description covers a variety of issues relative to the teaching objectives, prioritized skills, needs analysis, teaching materials. The purposes of consulting such documentation is to obtain information in current practices at the level of objectives' setting, prior needs analysis, teaching activities and prioritized skills and material type and selection.

Data instrument collection

In this study three data collection instruments were employed: An analysis of course description given by the institution, a questionnaire to English language instructors was administered and a needs analysis questionnaire was administered to students.

1.5.1 Course description

The aim of analyzing the course description of the English studies at the Moroccan institutions was both to identify the nature of the courses for students at Moulay Ismail University and to find out the perceptions of the curriculum coordinators with respect to the EAP courses in more general terms. Some items were excluded and some were modified from the course descriptive, whereas some additions were also made in order to appeal to the context of these studies.

1.5.2 English instructors and students questionnaire:

The questionnaire which was distributed to English instructors was a part of the needs analysis questionnaire administered to students. It consisted of five main sections.

Learning needs and target needs parts which involved a five-point Likert scale aimed at finding out the perceptions of English instructors regarding the importance of the four main skills and sub skills.

The first section, degree of emphasis part included 2 items. In the first item, asked for the opinion of the instructors regarding the importance of the four main skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). The scale consisted of the following descriptors: 1: No emphasis, 2: Weak emphasis, 3: Moderately emphasis, 4: Strong and 5: Very strong. The second item is a semi closed question mainly about the reason behind the ignorance of one of the skills if there was one.

The second, third, fourth and the fifth sections, target needs part, consisted of 23 items, 6 of which were related to the academic listening skills, 6 of which were related to the speaking skills, 11 of which were related to the reading skills and 7 of which were related to the writing skill. The scale consisted of the following descriptors: 1: Unimportant, 2: Of little importance, 3: Moderately important, 4: Important and 5: Very important.

All of the items in this questionnaire were the same as the items included in the student needs assessment questionnaire.

Data Analysis procedures

The data yielded by the instruments of this investigation are two fold:

Quantitative data produced by subjects on the closed questionnaire items

Qualitative data yielded through students' responses to semi closed questions and by the analysis of the course description.

The first type data was subjected to statistical analysis of frequencies and percentages in order to draw conclusions on the patterns yielded by the results. The qualitative data analysis, on the other hand, was subjected to a content analysis, which permitted the organization of the data under different categories. The latter were subsequently submitted to the same process of quantification like closed questions.

The most detailed tool was the students' needs assessment questionnaire. Percentages for importance scales were calculated and descriptive analysis was conducted. In order to examine the discrepancy between the importance of each need and the self perceptions of the learning and target needs, paired samples T-test was conducted.

Correlation coefficient values of learning needs and target needs were calculated to see whether there was a relationship.


In this chapter, the researcher have presented the methodology opted for in order to carry out this piece of research. The research design was presented along with the different instruments used in this work. The following chapter will try to present the main results of the study.